Fashion model and child at UNHQ
'Fashion and Sustainability: Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good' – Models parade sustainable clothing representing different regions of the world during the fashion showcase.
Photo:UN Photo/Manuel Elias

Creativity and innovation in problem-solving

There may be no universal understanding of creativity. The concept is open to interpretation from artistic expression to problem-solving in the context of economic, social and sustainable development. Therefore, the United Nations designated 21 April as World Creativity and Innovation Day to raise the awareness of the role of creativity and innovation in all aspects of human development.

Creativity and Culture

woman with camera
UNESCO’s International Fund for Culture and Diversity funds indigenous filmmakers in Brazil.

The creative economy too has no single definition. It is an evolving concept which builds on the interplay between human creativity and ideas and intellectual property, knowledge and technology. Essentially it is the knowledge-based economic activities upon which the ‘creative industries’ are based.

The creative economy –which includes audiovisual products, design, new media, performing arts, publishing and visual arts– is a highly transformative sector of the world economy in terms of income generation, job creation and export earnings. Culture is an essential component of sustainable development and represents a source of identity, innovation and creativity for the individual and community. At the same time, creativity and culture have a significant non-monetary value that contributes to inclusive social development, to dialogue and understanding between peoples. Today, the creative industries are among the most dynamic sectors in the world economy providing new opportunities for developing countries to leapfrog into emerging high-growth areas of the world economy.

Economic Growth Strategies

Cultural and creative industries should be part of economic growth strategies, according to the 2015 UNESCO report Cultural times: The first global map of cultural and creative industries. These industries are among the most dynamic sectors in the world economy, generating $2.25 billion in revenue and 29.5 million jobs worldwide. In that spirit, countries are harnessing the potential of high-growth areas of the market for economic returns and poverty alleviation.

New Momentum

On #WCID, the world is invited to embrace the idea that innovation is essential for harnessing the economic potential of nations. Innovation, creativity and mass entrepreneurship can provide new momentum for economic growth and job creation. It can expand opportunities for everyone, including women and youth. It can provide solutions to some of the most pressing problems such as poverty eradication and the elimination of hunger.

Impacts on the creative industry during the pandemic

According to the Report “Re|shaping policies for creativity: addressing culture as a global public good”, the crisis generated by the pandemic led the Gross Value Added in the cultural and leisure sectors to decrease by US$ 750 billion, and 10 million jobs were lost in 2020. The document shows that the cultural sector has been suffering major impacts since the beginning of the pandemic, while support for the development of cultural and leisure projects continues to decline. In several countries, sector revenues have fallen by between 20% and 40%.


The profile of a woman against stitching of different colours

UNESCO’s ResiliArt was launched on 15 April 2020 as a global movement to capture the resilience and grievances of artists and cultural professionals in the face of COVID-19 crisis through virtual debates. ResiliArt aims to ensure the continuity of conversations, data sharing, and advocacy efforts long after the pandemic subsides. UNESCO is expanding the ResiliArt movement to gather inputs on the ever-evolving needs, gaps and opportunities on the ground to inform the preparatory process of Mondiacult 2022.


Related websites

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The creative economy is recognized now as a tool of sustainable development. UNCTAD defines this “creative economy” as the sum of all the parts of the creative industries, including trade, labor, and production. The agency has tracked trade in creative goods and services for close to 20 years and consistently found that the growth rate of creative economy exports outpaces that of other industries.

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network was created to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. The 246 cities which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.

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International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.